Innsikter

For noen uker siden hadde jeg en fin samtale med vennen min fra Norge. Han kommer fra Sunnmøre og er en veldig morsom person. Jeg har bodd med ham og 3 andre nordmenn i Oslo i 2010. Det virkelig var den beste perioden i livet mitt foreløpig. Vennen min gir meg alltid noen viktige innsikter i livet og jeg setter stor pris på vennskapet vårt. For eksempel har han spurt meg hvis jeg har tenkt om livet mitt i Norge i framtida som jeg har planlagt.

Da begynte jeg å tenke at jeg kanskje ikke kunne ha den samme opplevelse som jeg hadde for tre år siden. Minnene mine fra denne tiden er virkelig kjempebra men jeg er ikke sikkert at det blir det samme igjen. Selvsagt skal jeg ha en helt annen opplevelse, men blir det også berikende og autentisk?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Noe annet har jeg nylig observert er at jeg faktisk stortrives i min LHBT aktivisme i Makedonia. Neste helga skal jeg til en viktig ILGA-Europas møte i Brussel som jeg har alltid ville være en medlem av. Jeg er så takknemlig at LHBT organisasjonene i Makedonia har forståelse for mitt potensial og ambisjoner! Jeg virkelig ser meg som en verdifull bidragsyter innenfor LHBT bevegelsen i mitt hjemland.

Det er også veldig inspirerende og motiverende at det er fantastiske folk som inngår i den samme bevegelsen, og at vi er støttet av de største internasjonale organisasjoner og stiftelser. Vi har nylig blitt medlem av BaBelNor – et nettverk av LHBT organisasjoner fra Balkan, Hviterussland, Ukraina og de nordiske landene. Jeg gleder meg til vårt første seminaret i Bosnia denne sommeren!

Takk så mye, vennen, for de dyrebare innsiktene!

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Longing

I have decided not to date any local guy from now onward.  It is just plain stupid to play all those ridiculous games, to surrender completely to somebody and then find out he does not deserve you at all. Macedonian guys with rare exceptions are insecure, intrusive, disrespectful, and pessimistic. At least my 9-year experience in dating Macedonians has proven that.

I could assume the reason for this is the general situation with the gays in the country – which is, almost non-existent visibility in the general public, fear from being true and honest to themselves, shame imposed by important figures in their lives and so on and further. Rarely any gay guy here is satisfied with his life in Macedonia, especially in the rural parts of the country.

What is also disturbing is the inability to make good, quality friendships with the gays here. The line between friendship and something more can become very thin at some point. If one is not aware of these lines, one can be hurt and disappointed easily. There is also a lack of empathy among the gays here as they seem to numb, they hide their emotions and they repress their inner world to avoid being hurt. Unfortunately, I have also noticed that jealousy, egoism and high level of attention-seeking are also part of the gay melodrama here. No such a thing like humility, kindness or compassion exists here.

No wonder 99% of the people at the gay dating websites (which is the main contact point of the gays in Macedonia) are looking only for one thing – a sexdate. While this is completely fair and honest to expect, I doubt that is the only reason why these websites exist. Even meeting guys through friends/acquaintances does not necessarily mean it will lead to a successful outcome. Not to mention meeting guys in the one and only gay friendly place in Skopje – that surely leads to a dull experience.

When I think of the splendid time I had in Oslo, Antwerp and Helsinki, and compare it to life here, I sadly admit that life in Skopje does not make me happy. I often find myself frustrated, disappointed and not being able to realize at least one of my life goals here. I struggle to find something worth doing, something that is greater than me, that will satisfy my higher ambitions and interests which will in the end, lead to me smiling and dancing through life.

I miss my time in Norway. I so much miss it. I miss the people I met there, I miss the atmosphere of freedom and joy, I long for seeing smiling people at streets, I long for hearing “Hello”, “Thank you” and “Have a nice day” at the shop, I miss hearing the bus driver saying “Good day”, I miss my straight friends having bigger blast than me in the gay bars. I miss so many things about it.

Will I soon need to face with a difficult decision? Will I have to perform my “nation confirmation surgery”? I think I will have to do it or I will miss the train. I have couple of weeks to decide and then just start with it. I think I will do it. I will actually do it.


Pain and joy

Only two weeks ago for the very first time in my life I had a car accident. The extremely icy road, the irresponsible driving of the taxi driver and the unprepared streets in my hometown for winter conditions have caused a fracture to my left clavicle (collarbone). I have been immobilized for the past two weeks meaning I have had to stay in my bed most of the time, not move my left shoulder/arm and allow my parents help me with basic activities such as taking shower, (un)dressing and going to bed. I need to stay home for the next two weeks, and then, have to take physiotherapy (in addition to the medications I am already taking).

I have never felt this frustrated as I am used to be moving around all the time, meeting people and doing physical exercises like yoga, walking, trekking, swimming… It doesn’t feel good at all but I have no choice than to follow the doctor’s instructions and improve my condition as quickly as possible. What I really miss is my life in Skopje, especially my dear people there. I also stopped giving lessons in Norwegian which is also something I do miss a lot, as well.

The New 2013 is only two days away and I have never felt this bad for being stuck home. What I am actually happy and grateful for is the fact that my parents, as always so far, have made enormous efforts to make me feel as good as on any other average day. Honestly, New Years Eve is also not that important for me, as I think this euphoria is kind of artificial and enforced. One should be and feel as happy on every single day, without any special reason. Just the very fact that we wake up alive every morning should bring smile to our face.

At the end, I would like to thank all the people I spent some meaningful time with in the passing year! 2012 was an incredibly turbulent and full-of-lessons year for me, with some of them being of a life-time value. I thank my dearest people that have always stood next to me in any experience, trusting me I will learn the lesson from it. I thank all the people that parted away from my life as it is them that have given me valuable insights, as well.

So, here it is to a better, happier and more prosperous 2013!

Skål!


Rainbow

When I was thinking about what to write in my latest blog post, I had to consider the plethora of things that happened to me in the past few months. For many of them, I had to put a mask on just so I could feel safer and more secure. I told “white lies”, as my friend would put it. But this feeling of safety and security is a false one. It is not deeply intertwined to my own self and thus it is rather superficial. I felt scared of being judged and had to lie to my dearest ones in order to have this fake feeling of safety and security.

What did I get back from that fear?

I got fist shot in my head – namely, alienating from my dearest parents and brother, weakening of my friendships with some of my most close friends, and most importantly, loosening up the relationship I have with myself. I never had lied so much for that damn sake of feeling “safe”.

What I did?

I moved to a country, hoping to solve my issues by trying to build something with a person in a very short time. I ended it up unsuccessfully as nothing important can be built in a matter of  few weeks. Love needs time to grow. Everything else is just an illusion. Once I got back home, I lied to almost everyone who kept asking me why I didn’t stay in that country and what really happened. I had to keep this image of a successful, young guy, with a global mindset and bright future ahead. I failed big time in that. Nevertheless, I kept living in this dream until it got too much. To that point when your relatives on your birthday start asking you when you are finally getting a girlfriend.

I’ve had it enough.

I’ve just turned 28 and I think it is about time to start living my life as I want it. No more compromises, no more concessions given to sacrifice my honesty, genuineness, faith, hope and truth. As they say, I believe it is much better to be hated for who I am than to be loved for who I am not.

Dear members of the government, media, schools, church, sports’ and pensioners’ associations and every other homophobic propagandist in Macedonia, beware, as there is a virile, potent and audacious gay guy joining the rainbow army!


Macedonia vs Greece

(The blog post below though not mine, reflects my views and attitude on the ‘name issue’ my homeland has with Greece).

Would the United States ever entertain the idea of changing its name? Why then, is it asking Macedonia to do so?

Apparently, for the “privilege” of joining NATO. Of course, at the NATO summit in May, Macedonia wasn’t even on the agenda.

It should have been painfully obvious that Macedonia wouldn’t be invited to join NATO until it solves the so-called “name dispute” with Greece. In 2008, every member-state wanted to extend an invitation to Macedonia, but Greece was permitted to use its veto power to prevent it. To make it “official”, point 26 of the Chicago Summit Declaration states,

“We reiterate the agreement at our 2008 Bucharest Summit, as we did at subsequent Summits, to extend an invitation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to join the Alliance as soon as a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue has been reached within the framework of the UN, and strongly urge intensified efforts towards that end.”

What’s worse, that Macedonia continues to negotiate its own name and identity in order to “play with the big boys” or that NATO and the European Union are allowing Greece to hold the rest of the NATO and EU member-states hostage? Of course, Macedonia has also been shamelessly begging for entry into the European Union but, with Greece as a longtime member, that won’t happen.

Why is Macedonia so desperate to join two organizations that offer no obvious benefits?

Not only are NATO and the EU allowing Greece to dictate their membership based on its own racist and xenophobic policies, but the European Union also bailed Greece out after it blatantly lied about its economic situation, which has subsequently wreaked havoc with global markets.

The EU also allows Greece to violate its minorities’ rights and ignore European Court of Human Rights rulings against it without fear of retribution. All of this while Greece proclaims, and is celebrated as the “birthplace of democracy”.

As if it was proving how far it could go, Greek citizens voted in 21 members of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn in the country’s May elections.

Macedonia’s desperation to join NATO and the EU can only be described as pathetic. Macedonia is one of the highest per-capita contributors to NATO missions, even though it is not a member. The Macedonian government decided years ago to sacrifice its own citizens for the sake of joining an organization that doesn’t have the guts to stand up to Greece and extend it an invitation. How sad that NATO can’t even stand up to its weakest member.

After the NATO Summit in Chicago, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski expressed disgust at the lack of an invitation, criticized the West and ultimately blamed Greece. Makes sense, but he forgot to include Macedonia’s involvement in this mess. By negotiating its own name, Macedonia is telling the world that it is willing to change it. The simple, and only, solution is that Macedonia should immediately end the name negotiations and never should have started them in the first place.

Greece claims that it objects to the Republic of Macedonia’s name because it creates “confusion” with the province of Macedonia, that it annexed after the partition of Macedonia’s entire territory in 1913. However, former Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis admitted in 1995 that Greece initiated the nonsensical name dispute to continue to deny the existence of its large, indigenous Macedonian minority.

Ironically, Greece now claims that “Macedonia is Greek”, but it was not until 1988, when Greece realized that independence for the Republic of Macedonia was imminent, that it renamed “Northern Greece” to “Macedonia.” Prior to this, Greece’s policy was that Macedonia did not exist.

Despite the intense Greek propaganda, over 130 countries have recognized Macedonia, including four of the five permanent UN Security Council members. So this begs the question, why are countries that have already recognized Macedonia asking it to compromise with Greece and change its name? The answer, again, is because Macedonia is continuing to negotiate its own name.

If Macedonia is just going through the motions to appear diplomatic, as some politicians have suggested, it has obviously been a huge failure. Instead of showing its flexibility in trying to find a “solution”, it has frustrated the United States and other western countries because this dispute has been going on for 21 years, with no end in sight. Of course, it’s common sense to see that there is no solution when one country is being asked to change its name to appease another country’s racist notion that it has no right to exist. It also doesn’t excuse the United States demanding that a country change its name. Is this how the US sees itself as “spreading democracy and human rights” throughout the world?

As the Our Name is Macedonia campaign (which demands that Macedonia end the name negotiations) states “Would any other country negotiate its own name?”. To clearly show how ridiculous the name dispute is, it also asks “Should the US state of Georgia demand that the Republic of Georgia change its name?”

If this issue wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable.

Bill Nicholov, President

Macedonian Human Rights Movement International


Vulnerability

I have been thinking a lot about the sources of creativity people have and it came to my mind as a logical conclusion – one needs to be deeply involved or engaged with a certain topic, issue, style, attitude or behavior in order to create something inventive, original and insightful. And this deep involvement or engagement with something often creates us very fragile and vulnerable. I have watched Brene Brown’s talks on vulnerability, creativity and connection and I realized I have found the answer to my inner struggles and fights. I used to numb – suppress my feelings rather often in order not to show anyone else I am vulnerable and fragile person (as we all are).

However, one special day last year made me think and try to transform my perspective to see how much I was wrong and how much I was consciously hurting myself. I freaked out at a friend’s inability to orientate herself in time and space and it cost me missing a train, spending lots of time in places I didn’t really like being in and of course, it cost me a possibility to distant myself from my friend. I chose not to do the latter as I truly wanted to see what I can do so I can keep my friendship. I put myself in her shoes and tried to see the situation from her perspective. And then I saw where I was wrong. I think I have had this belief of striving to be perfect all the time – whatever this perfection meant – great son, great brother, great friend, great student and so on and further. This gets me back in my late high-school years when I really thought I was doing everything well, but yet, I didn’t have this feeling of being satisfied, or happy. I just knew I was completing my tasks and doing my roles in a great manner!

This belief proved unsustainable and wrong when I enrolled at university. I started finding ways how to be happy, instead of how to keep everyone around me satisfied. As being happy and making others happy are not always the same. As sadistic as this may sound, I decided that it is time to draw a line where I stop making others feel great at the extent of my misery. With time passing by I learnt that the best way to keep myself and the others happy is to find the balance between self-love and love of the others. One cannot love the others if they don’t love themselves first.

Many years after my high school graduation I think I have learnt the lesson. The people that want to be in your heart will always find a way to stay there. If you spend too much time and attention to people that do not return in the same way, you are certainly going to be hurt. Therefore, I feel that now it is finally time to really commit myself to a much bigger struggle and challenge – how to be totally open to myself and everyone that comes on my way. I know there will be lots of fights and defeats, but I will persevere. If it is not me and the people like me who can change the world, who else will do that?

So, welcome your vulnerability and imperfection with your whole heart!


Mitt først blogginnlegg på norsk!

Jeg er så glad at jeg kan skrive noe på norsk. Jeg startet med norskkurs i september 2009 og jeg har ikke sluttet å lære norsk siden da. Raskt ble jeg forelsket i språket, kulturen og samfunnet. Snart ble Norge mitt favorittland og nordmennene mitt favorittfolk!

Slik ble jeg mer interessert i å bli bedre i norsk! Derfor fortsatte jeg å lære språket selv om jeg flyttet utenlands i april 2010. Jeg var igjen i Oslo i mai og oktober 2010 i fire uker totalt. Sjelden har jeg blitt så interessert i noen land, språk, kultur og folk! Jeg har også hatt mulighet til å få nye, utrolige venner fra Norge som har blitt mine gode venner. Det er veldig godt å ha norske venner!

Nylig har jeg møtt en amerikaner som også er en stor fan av Norge og alt norsk/skandinavisk! Vi har blitt «språk-læring-kompiser» og har allerede hatt noen Skype-samtaler. Det er så hyggelig å ha en person som har samme interesser som deg. Min norsk har blitt mye bedre siden vår første Skype-samtale!

Men det hyggeligste er det at en av mine kjære makedonske venner også er veldig interessert i Norge og alt norsk! Slik kan vi lære språket i Makedonia sammen. Kanskje vi kan åpne den første norske-makedonske klubb i Skopje? Det kommer til å bli så flott! Jeg gleder meg til det!